Swimming laps isn't for everyone, so if you want to exercise in the pool with a more diverse activity, consider trying water aerobics. It's a great way to burn calories and get fit while still having some fun in the pool. In this article, you'll discover what water aerobics is and how it can benefit your health. Plus, you'll learn some easy water aerobic exercises that you can try the next time you're in the pool.
What is Water Aerobics?
Water aerobics is the term used to describe aerobic exercises that are performed in water. That means that the exercises done in water aerobics are intended to increase your heart rate and your body's intake of oxygen. Most commonly, water aerobics are done in a shallower part of the pool so that the participants' feet can touch the bottom of the pool. This gives them added support and flexibility to do different movements. Although many people do water aerobics in a class, if you know some of the exercises, they can certainly be performed on your own as well.
Benefits of Water Aerobics
There are a myriad of benefits for doing water aerobic exercises that can positively affect both your health and your lifestyle, including:
- Burn calories: According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, you can burn about 400 to 500 calories per hour doing water aerobics. Naturally, doing more intense water aerobic exercises can increase that amount, while milder exercises may burn less. Additionally, you may be able to increase the amount of calories you burn by doing exercises that involve both the upper and lower body and those which involve submerging more of your body in the water.
- Build strength: Many people are able to tone up their muscles easily through water aerobics. That's because the water provides natural resistance against your movements, which makes your muscles work harder to perform each exercise.
- Low-impact: While doing water aerobics, the water softens the impact that joints have while exercising. This makes water aerobics a great choice for people with joint problems or arthritis or for the elderly.
Water Aerobic Exercises
Here are a few basic water aerobics exercises that you can try out. For each of the following exercises, stand in waist- to chest-deep water unless otherwise noted:
- Leg switch: Start by standing up straight with your arms by your sides. Hop up slightly and put your right foot forward and your left foot back. Allow your body to sink back down slightly then hop up again and slight your feet so the left foot is forward and the right foot is back. Continue alternating your feet, being sure to hop up between each switch.
- Jumping jacks: Stand up with your feet together and arms at your sides. Hop up and go into a jumping jack position with your arms above your head and feet spread apart wide. Hop up and return to the starting position. Do as many jumping jacks as you can.
- Pedaling: Pedal your feet as though you were on a bike, keeping your feet off the floor of the pool as long as possible. Take a break when necessary, then continue. Depending on your ability, you may want to be in slightly deeper water for this exercise.
- Arm curls: Make sure your arms are submerged. Stand with one foot in front of the other with your arms at your sides with your palms facing forward. Cup your hands and then bring them up to your shoulders, keeping your upper arms at your sides. Turn your hands so they are facing down and still cupped, then return your arms to the starting position. Make sure you keep your fingers together throughout the exercises as the cupped shape of the hands adds resistance to this exercise. Repeat as many times as you like.
- Dolphin fin: Place your right hand on the edge of the pool. Place your left hand under your right hand on the side of the pool about a foot below the water level. Push out so your legs are near the surface. Keeping your feet together, move your legs up and down until they are making waves. If necessary, take a short break once you being to tire, then continue making waves.
- Calf lifts: Stand next to the side of the pool, placing both hands on the edge of the pool in front of you. Keep your feet together on the floor of the pool. Raise yourself up on your toes and then lower your heels back down to the floor of the pool slowly. Repeat this exercises until you tire. You can also reverse this exercise so that your heels stays on the floor and your toes lift up instead.